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July 11, 2011

Citrus Pound Cake & Date Sugar Icing

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A healthy Pound Cake?!?

A healthy icing?


I don't think there is one baker out there who answered those two questions like I just did.  I mean, a healthy poundcake?!? I think this is a day that history books need to include!

If you have ever read my Banana Bread post or the About Me page, then you know about my childhood addiction to sugary, buttery, baked goodness.  But now that I have perfected my own 100% healthy banana bread recipe, I no longer crave the perfectly laid out slices at the Starbucks checkout line.  Instead, my cravings have led me to another one of their no-good confections: the Iced Lemon Pound Cake.  I searched FoodGawker, TasteSpotting, I searched Google, I searched everything for a healthy Pound Cake recipe, but failed to find one.

From my previous recipe, the Dark Chocolate Coconut Cake, I had used some tofu and had a bit leftover.  Since I needed four trials to perfect that recipe, I had a chance to make another recipe with tofu in it.  And holy cow, I never realized how fussy tofu is!  You need to submerge it in a bowl of water, refrigerate it, and change its water every day.  Oh, and then use within seven days... how needy!  Anyways, I read that tofu can be used as an egg replacer as it is dense and provides moisture.  This is great for pound cakes because a basic pound cake uses many eggs and a lot of butter...  I found pound cake recipes that use 4 sticks of butter, 2-3/4 cup of sugar and 8 egg yolks...  Uhh, no thanks?  I'll make my own!

Trial #1:
     The first trial was surprisingly a successful one! The only problem were the flavors--I used 1 tablespoon of lemon zest which turned a little bitter after baking... I will use pure extracts in the next trial. This cake was beyond moist, it was wonderful and dense, and the butter extract really came through. Because of the moisture level, I thought that I was able to lower the amount of coconut oil and use applesauce instead. The only wrong thing about this cake was that it didn't look like pound cake. It was flat and more cupcake-like rather than pound-cake-like.
^^ Naked
^^ Dressed
Ain't it purdy?

One thing I wish I could share with you, is this icing.  It was fantastic.  Unfortunately, the sugar I used was to never be found again!  I could have sworn I bought it from Whole Foods, but I couldn't find it anywhere after that.  Not Mrs. Greens, not Nature Works, and not even two other locations of Whole Foods.  I used 1/2 cup of powdered coconut sugar with one tablespoon of water.  I bought coconut sugar because it is low glycemic (like honey, agave and maple syrup), it is high in B vitamins, Vitamin C, potassium and magnesium.  So if all that could come from a sugar, yes, I am making an icing with it!  But, like I said, I never saw it again... :(

Trial #2:
Just like my Dark Chocolate Coconut Cake, I thought I could use arrowroot starch in this as well to firm up the structure and make it more "pound-cake-like." I used 3 tablespoons because that was how much I used in the Dark Chocolate Coconut Cake and it turned out well! Next time, I would test using 1/4 cup though...

Trial #3:

This cake is very moist and dense, and you won't miss that buttery taste of regular pound cake because of the butter extract! The stevia will satisfy your sweet tooth, and the citrus gives the cake some tang. One big plus about this cake: it is low fat! The coconut oil is the only source of fat in this recipe, so bake this and eat up.

Citrus Pound Cake:  [low fat/sugar, high fiber/protein]
(makes one large loaf or 2 mini loaves)

       240g (2 cups) Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
        20g (1/4 cup) Whey Protein Concentrate
        48g (1/4 cup) Sucanat (or dry sweetener of choice)
        32g (1/4 cup) Arrowroot Starch (or cornstarch)
        1+1/2 tsp Baking Powder
        1/2 tsp Baking Soda
        1/4 tsp Sea Salt

        182g (2/5 package) Lite Silken Tofu, drained
        123g (1/2 cup) Unsweetened Applesauce
        113g (1/2 cup) Plain, Nonfat Greek Yogurt
        42g (2 tbs) Honey
        28g (2 tbs) Coconut Oil
        2 tsp Stevia Extract
        2 tsp Vanilla Extract
        1+1/2 tsp Lemon Flavor
        1+1/4 tsp Butter Extract
        1/2 tsp Orange Flavor

Date Sugar Icing:
   192g (1 cup) Powdered Date Sugar
   3/4 cup + 1 tbs Water
   1/4 cup + 2 tbs Honey

Directions (for the cake):
1.  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit
2.  Put the wet ingredients into a blender and puree, set aside
3.  In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients
4.  Pour the blender mixture onto the dry ingredients (every last drop!) and fold until everything is incorporated. Batter will be thick (I tend to overmix, and it still turned out fine)
5.  Spray a loaf pan with PAM, and scoop the batter in. Flatten the top with a spoon or spatula and put into the oven.  Bake for about an hour, until a toothpick comes out clean and surface springs back when touched.
6.  Top with icing. Slice into 8 slices when completely cooled! Otherwise it will not slice neatly.

Directions (for the icing):
1.  Measure out the date sugar and put it into a blender, blend/puree/liquify (whatever setting is fastest and strongest) for 30 seconds to a minute.  Shake the container to release any chunks that may not have been blended, and blend again for another 30 seconds or so.  By now, you shouldn't be able to see through the container, sugar should be floating around.
2.  Keep shaking the container, blend, shake, blend.  If it looks ready, it probably won't be... so keep blending!  You don't want a gritty icing (take it from me)
3.  When the sugar is finely ground like regular powdered sugar be, pour it into a medium bowl and stir in the water and honey.  When there is not enough liquid, it will look like a stiff, jam-like spread (which isn't a bad thing, I guess!).  Pour/spread over the cake.

This icing (seen in the Trial #1 pictures) was actually the first icing I had ever made! I had originally used powdered coconut sugar, but never saw it in stores again. I was tempted to buy a premade Pillsbury frosting (even though it is loaded with sugar), but I was saddened to see "partially hydrogenated oils" on the top of the ingredient list... an ingredient that I will never put into my body (read bottom of the linked page).

not buying it = good choice

So, I decided to just powder some sugar myself. Coconut sugar has a strong, distinct flavor, and sucanat didn't taste very good on the cake.  So, I used date sugar! It comes pretty finely ground, but not powdered like regular powdered sugar.  The extra work of powdering your own sugar is so worth the health benefits!  I like how this icing uses fruit sugar rather than processed stuff that a machine dumped out. Date sugar is high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, while providing a great, unique flavor! Although the color needs some getting used to, I think you will enjoy it  :)  If you don't like it, I guess you can always use regular powdered sugar.  If you like white icings, try this recipe!

I am so happy to see that unhealthy foods actually can have a healthy alternative.  Make this recipe. You won't regret it!


  1. Ughhhh, how do you even think of these delicious recipes?! I wouldn't know where to start making a commonplace treat healthy AND delicious. This looks soooooo gooooood! ^_^

  2. Hello, I think it's wonderful that you can make such healthy treats but quite a lot of your ingredients like whey protein, sucanat, date sugar, stevia..are alien to me and can't be purchased anywhere near where I live. Could you create something more 'user friendly'? or is this blog only for some specific reader?

  3. Ika,
    Many of these ingredients can be purchased online from amazon or the company's website, but if you don't want to do that, here are some replacements:
    Whey Protein--Dried Nonfat Milk
    Sucanat--Sugar and Brown Sugar
    Date Sugar--Powdered Sugar
    For the stevia, I use this brand:
    Sorry about the trouble!

  4. Anything that can be used to replace the tofu?

  5. Anonymous,
    If you don't mind the cholesterol in whole eggs, you can try using 2 eggs... or possibly even more yogurt. Good luck!

  6. You photograph really well. I love that you are concerned not just with the taste but with the health benefits too.

  7. Hi Jessica,
    Can't wait to try your pound cake! It's one of the desserts I really enjoyed growing up since my great grandmother often made them when she was alive. And I love that you're not afraid to tackle foreign ingredients. One question, does Whole Foods carry the butter extract? I've never heard of such a thing!


    1. JennK- I've gotten butter extract at Whole Foods before, but most of the time I get it at smaller stores like Mrs. Greens or NatureWorks (I'm not sure if you've heard of these, but they're just small health food stores).

      This is the brand I get:

  8. Cool. I'll be on the lookout for it! Thanks again :-)

  9. Jessica, I found your recipe while searching for a "healthy" high fiber, low calorie pound cake. I plan to try the recipe without the icing, however do you happen to know the caloric value of a specific serving size of the pound cake no icing? As I am not a baker or nutritionist is there a easy way to make this a lo glycemic cake for my husband (who enjoys pound cake!!) that is trying to lose weight and has DM type II.

    1. Unknown- 1/8 of the recipe is the serving size (1 slice if you make the large loaf). Without the icing, 1 serving/slice has 246 calories, 5.9g fat, 40.5g carbs, 4.25g fiber, 7.5g protein.
      Hope this helps!



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